A Secular Buddhism - Stephen Batchelor

An article by the unofficial figurehead of the secular Buddhism movement, Stephen Batchelor. This definitive article gives a great summary of Stephen's secular approach to the dharma. He suggests that secular Buddhism is not just a re-working of the traditional approaches to make them digestible to our modern world, but a re-thinking of the core ideas, starting with the 'four noble truths' as invitations to act rather than propositions to be believed.

Adaptation and authenticity - Winton Higgins

Impermanence and 'dependent arising' (the cause and effect of things) are two key principles that run through the dharma. This alone should be enough to lead us to be wary of anyone peddling 'the one true way' of practising dharma, including the prescriptive practices of Theravadin monks - themselves arising from a culture that differs to ours (especially in its value of lay practice and of women's practice in particular). Winton urges us to be alert to the subtle influences of values-laden traditions and, without losing the core principles, to adapt them to apply to the 'whole catastrophe' of our existence in the modern world.

Buddhist manifesto - Glenn Wallis

'Gotama was an unsurpassed scientist of the real' says Glenn Wallis in this inspiringly honest, unadorned look at what it means to be a Buddhist. And likewise Wallis is courageously real in this paper - he doesn't pull any punches although they are delivered compassionately and with good intention.

'The Buddha 'prescribed a no-nonsense, no-frills, clutter-free methodology that would allow us to ascertain reality for ourselves;...he warned against the insidious and ensnaring seductiveness of ritual, devotion, and religious artifice'. This resounds with my sense that the minute I start to adopt these 'articifices', I begin to identify with them (a very unhelpful tendency) - and that if I need them to be motivated to walk the path, then I'm manufacturing a feel-good screen to place in front of my real experience. Know the core teachings of the Buddha, and implement them with the help of sangha (community) - if we stick with this we're unlikely to stray too far from the path.

Bumpy bits without quick fixes - Winton Higgins

Enlightenment - Winton Higgins

The notes from a weekend workshop of the same name. The workshop addressed the following four questions:
  1. What does the often confused conflict between religion and irreligion in our culture have to do with how we live now? 
  2. Why do we have such trouble accepting our finitude (mortality and limitedness) and disentangling from the yearning for transcendence? 
  3. How should we think about our ethical priorities in the way we live now? 
  4. Can we move on from these issues to draw some tentative conclusions about how to orient and intensify our daily dharma practice?

Kindness - Winton Higgins

Narcissism and not-self - Winton Higgins

Narcissism is not a new human phenomenon however our modern culture encourages it in many ways. This talk looks at what has recently been called the 'narcissism epidemic' in light of one of the core teachings of the Buddha - the delusion that we are independent, in-control beings with fixed, solid identities.

The big picture - Winton Higgins
A talk given by Winton in response to confusion about where modern insight meditation practice sits within the broader world of Buddhism. The talk is actually called 'Sydney Insight Meditation Sanghas in the Big Picture' as our Sydney community was the location of the confusion at the time. However the talk gives an excellent overview of where secular practice fits in as it sits very closely with the approach of modern insight meditation.

The coming of secular Buddhism: a synoptic view - Winton Higgins

This article describes the forces that have led to and shaped the secular approach. Don't let the academic-sounding abstract deter you, the article is accessible, educative and enjoyable. Having said that, it doesn't hurt to have open in the background if you enjoy expanding your vocabulary.

The truth of interpersonal suffering - Gregory Kramer